What is VOIP?

In 2025, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will be switched off. With it, older analogue phones will become obsolete. But people still need to be able to make calls on their home landline phones. Those who want to retain their landlines will need to switch to digital phones, most of which will use Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP technology.

VoIP transmits data digitally over the Internet, rather than over analogue lines. Many homes and businesses already have digital phones and use VoIP technology, but for some users, the switch will mean new connections and new hardware. 


Why The Switch?

The existing landline phone network has been used since the Victorian times. It relies on fragile copper cables to transmit calls across the country. The cables are prone to physical damage as well as corrosion and damage from storms, other bad weather, electricity, and fire. The analogue network is not fit for its intended purpose (link to What Is The Difference Between Full Fibre And Copper Fibre Internet) and needs upgrading. Fortunately, there is an existing network that can be used – the Internet.


What Is VoIP?

Rather than transmit voice data down copper cables, it is possible to send this data over the Internet. Making and receiving calls working the same way to the end user but fibre cables offer improved capacity and are more resilient to potential damage.


Moving To Digital

Providers have vowed to move all phone customers over to digital by 2025, thereby making the PSTN obsolete. Most suppliers have already transitioned by putting all new customers on VoIP lines rather than analogue and providing new routers and other necessary hardware. 


What Do Customers Need To Do?

For most users, the switch to VoIP will mean plugging their VoIP compatible phones into their routers rather than to the phone socket on the wall. For some, it might mean buying a new phone or adaptor, although many modern phones have VoIP capabilities. Similarly, modern routers offer VoIP connections. 


Basic Phone Services

VoIP calls need an Internet connection. Most homes and businesses have broadband which will make the transition easy. However, for those who don’t want an Internet connection, the phone provider will need to offer a basic package that just covers the cost of the phone line. The supplier might need to come out and install new cables or new hardware, but this shouldn’t come at a cost to the user.


Telephone Numbers

In most cases, customers will be able to keep the same phone number when they switch to the new network. The phone provider will advise if this isn’t possible and will make a new number available to affected customers. 


Telecare Devices

Telecare devices, as well as some burglar alarms and other devices that use a landline connection, may be affected by the change. Customers with these devices should contact their provider so they can come up with a solution. 


Resilience Solutions

Similarly, because a VoIP connection needs power to operate, vulnerable customers that rely on the use of their landline should be provided with a “resilience solution”, such as a mobile phone or a battery backup, by their provider. 


Upgrade Your Equipment Today

The switch from the old PSTN to digital VoIP calls is coming and is due to be completed by September 2025. The change will be seamless for most customers but may require the installation of new hardware and the purchase of new phones for some customers. Now is a good time to upgrade equipment to ensure you’re ready for the switch.